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Publication numberUS6084910 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 08/792,630
Publication dateJul 4, 2000
Filing dateJan 31, 1997
Priority dateJan 31, 1997
Fee statusPaid
Publication number08792630, 792630, US 6084910 A, US 6084910A, US-A-6084910, US6084910 A, US6084910A
InventorsLeon Stanger, Chao-Kung Yang, Robert H. Plummer
Original AssigneeHughes Electronics Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Statistical multiplexer for video signals
US 6084910 A
Abstract
An apparatus for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals is provided with first and second complexity detectors which generate first and second complexity signals which relate to the complexity of first and second video signals, respectively, and first and second encoders for compressing the first and second video signals at variable compression rates to generate a first and second compressed video signals. The apparatus also includes a controller for controlling the variable compression rates of the encoders based on the complexity signal signals and a multiplexer coupled to receive the compressed video signals. The apparatus may be provided in a broadcasting system, such as a satellite is broadcasting system. The broadcast system may include a transmitter coupled to receive the video signals from the multiplexer, a satellite coupled to receive the video signals from the transmitter, a receiver for receiving video signals from the satellite, and one or more decoders connected to receive video signals from the receiver.
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Claims(24)
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals, said apparatus comprising:
a first complexity detector coupled to receive a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said first complexity detector generating a first complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said first video signal;
a second complexity detector coupled to receive a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said second complexity detector generating a second complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said second video signal;
a first encoder for compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a first compressed video signal;
a second encoder for compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a second compressed video signal;
a controller for controlling said variable compression rates of said first and second encoders based on said first and second complexity signals; and
a multiplexer coupled to receive said first and second compressed video signals.
2. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 additionally comprising:
a third encoder for compressing said first video signal to generate a third compressed video signal, said third encoder being connected to transmit said third compressed video signal to said first complexity detector; and
a fourth encoder for compressing said second video signal to generate a fourth compressed video signal, said fourth encoder being connected to transmit said fourth compressed video signal to said second complexity detector.
3. An apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said controller comprises:
means for generating a summing signal representing the sum of said complexities of said first and second video signals;
means for generating a compression factor for one of said first and second video signals based upon said summing signal and said complexity signal for said one video signal; and
means for causing one of said first and second encoders to compress said one video signal based on said compression factor.
4. An apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein one of said first and second encoders includes a quantizer and wherein said means for generating a compression factor comprises means for generating a quantizing factor.
5. A video broadcast system for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals and broadcasting said video signals, said system comprising:
a first complexity detector coupled to receive a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said first complexity detector generating a first complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said first video signal;
a second complexity detector coupled to receive a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said second complexity detector generating a second complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said second video signal;
a first encoder for compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a first compressed video signal;
a second encoder for compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a second compressed video signal;
a controller for controlling said variable compression rates of said first and second encoders based on said first and second complexity signals;
a multiplexer coupled to receive said first and second compressed video signals; and
a broadcast apparatus coupled to said multiplexer that receives said video signals from said multiplexer and broadcasts said video signals to a plurality of locations remote from said multiplexer.
6. A system as defined in claim 5 wherein said broadcasting apparatus comprises satellite broadcasting means.
7. A system as defined in claim 5 wherein said broadcasting apparatus comprises:
a transmitter coupled to receive said video signals from said multiplexer;
a satellite coupled to receive said video signals from said transmitter;
a receiver for receiving video signals from said satellite; and
a decoder connected to receive video signals from said receiver.
8. A system as defined in claim 5 additionally comprising:
a third encoder for compressing said first video signal to generate a third compressed video signal, said third encoder being connected to transmit said third compressed video signal to said first complexity detector; and
a fourth encoder for compressing said second video signal to generate a fourth compressed video signal, said fourth encoder being connected to transmit said fourth compressed video signal to said second complexity detector.
9. An apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein said controller comprises:
means for generating a summing signal representing the sum of said complexities of said first and second video signals;
means for generating a compression factor for one of said first and second video signals based upon said summing signal and said complexity signal for said one video signal; and
means for causing one of said first and second encoders to compress said one video signal based on said compression factor.
10. An apparatus as defined in claim 9 wherein one of said first and second encoders includes a quantizer and wherein said means for generating a compression factor comprises means for generating a quantizing factor.
11. A method of statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) generating a first complexity signal for a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time;
(b) generating a second complexity signal for a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time;
(c) generating a first compression factor based on said first complexity signal;
(d) generating a second compression factor based on said second complexity signal;
(e) compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate based upon said first compression factor to generate a first compressed video signal; and
(f) compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate based upon said second compression factor to generate a second compressed video signal.
12. A method as defined in claim 11 wherein said step (c) comprises the step of generating said first compression factor based on said first complexity signal and said second complexity signal.
13. A method as defined in claim 11 wherein said step (c) comprises the step of generating a quantizing factor based on said first complexity signal and said second complexity signal.
14. A method as defined in claim 11 wherein said step (c) comprises the steps of:
(c1) generating a summing signal representing the sum of said complexities of said first and second video signals;
(c2) generating said first compression factor based upon said summing signal and said complexity of said first video signal.
15. A method as defined in claim 11 additionally comprising the steps of:
(g) multiplexing said first and second compressed video signals; and
(h) broadcasting said video signals of step (g) to a plurality of remote locations.
16. A method as defined in claim 15 wherein said step (h) comprises the steps of:
(h1) transmitting said video signals of step (g) to a satellite;
(h2) transmitting video signals from the satellite to a receiver; and
(h3) transmitting video signals from the receiver to a decoder.
17. An apparatus for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals, said apparatus comprising:
a first complexity detector coupled to receive a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said first complexity detector generating a first complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said first video signal;
a second complexity detector coupled to receive a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said second complexity detector generating a second complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said second video signal;
a first encoder for compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a first compressed video signal;
a second encoder for compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a second compressed video signal;
a controller for controlling said variable compression rates of said first and second encoders based on said first and second complexity signals, said controller transmitting a first compression factor to said first encoder and a second compression factor to said second encoder; and
a multiplexer coupled to receive said first and second compressed video signals.
18. A method of statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) generating a first complexity signal for a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time;
(b) generating a second complexity signal for a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time;
(c) generating a first compression factor based on said first complexity signal;
(d) generating a second compression factor based on said second complexity signal;
(e) transmitting said first compression factor to a first variable rate encoder;
(f) transmitting said second compression factor to a second variable rate encoder;
(g) compressing said first video signal with said first variable rate encoder at a variable compression rate based upon said first compression factor to generate a first compressed video signal; and
(h) compressing said second video signal with said second variable rate encoder at a variable compression rate based upon said second compression factor to generate a second compressed video signal.
19. An apparatus for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals, said apparatus comprising:
a first complexity detector coupled to receive a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said first complexity detector generating a first complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said first video signal;
a second complexity detector coupled to receive a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said second complexity detector generating a second complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said second video signal;
a first encoder coupled to receive said first video signal, said first encoder compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a first compressed video signal;
a second encoder coupled to receive said second video signal, said second encoder compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a second compressed video signal;
a third encoder coupled to receive said first video signal, said third encoder compressing said first video signal to generate a third compressed video signal, said third encoder being connected to transmit said third compressed video signal to said first complexity detector;
a fourth encoder coupled to receive said second video signal, said fourth encoder compressing said second video signal to generate a fourth compressed video signal, said fourth encoder being connected to transmit said fourth compressed video signal to said second complexity detector;
a controller for controlling said variable compression rates of said first and second encoders based on said first and second complexity signals; and
a multiplexer coupled to receive said first and second compressed video signals.
20. A video broadcast system for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals and broadcasting said video signals, said system comprising:
a first complexity detector coupled to receive a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said first complexity detector generating a first complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said first video signal;
a second complexity detector coupled to receive a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said second complexity detector generating a second complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said second video signal;
a first encoder coupled to receive said first video signal, said first encoder compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a first compressed video signal;
a second encoder coupled to receive said second video signal, said second encoder compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a second compressed video signal;
a first buffer for temporally delaying said first video signal before said first video signal is provided to said first encoder;
a second buffer for temporally delaying said second video signal before said second video signal is provided to said second encoder;
a third encoder coupled to receive said first video signal, said third encoder compressing said first video signal to generate a third compressed video signal, said third encoder being connected to transmit said third compressed video signal to said first complexity detector;
a fourth encoder coupled to receive said second video signal, said fourth encoder compressing said second video signal to generate a fourth compressed video signal, said fourth encoder being connected to transmit said fourth compressed video signal to said second complexity detector;
a controller for controlling said variable compression rates of said first and second encoders based on said first and second complexity signals;
a multiplexer coupled to receive said first and second compressed video signals; and
a broadcast apparatus coupled to said multiplexer that receives said video signals from said multiplexer and broadcasts said video signals to a plurality of locations remote from said multiplexer, said broadcast apparatus comprising:
a transmitter coupled to receive said video signals from said multiplexer; and
a satellite coupled to receive said video signals from said transmitter.
21. An apparatus for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals, said apparatus comprising:
a first complexity detector coupled to receive a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said first complexity detector generating a first complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said first video signal;
a second complexity detector coupled to receive a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said second complexity detector generating a second complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said second video signal;
a first encoder for compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a first compressed video signal;
a second encoder for compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a second compressed video signal;
a first buffer coupled to provide said first video signal to an input of said first encoder, said first buffer temporally delaying said first video signal before said first video signal is provided to said first encoder;
a second buffer coupled to provide said second video signal to an input of said second encoder, said second buffer temporally delaying said second video signal before said second video signal is provided to said second encoder;
a controller for controlling said variable compression rates of said first and second encoders based on said first and second complexity signals; and
a multiplexer coupled to receive said first and second compressed video signals.
22. A video broadcast system for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals and broadcasting said video signals, said system comprising:
a first complexity detector coupled to receive a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said first complexity detector generating a first complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said first video signal;
a second complexity detector coupled to receive a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said second complexity detector generating a second complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said second video signal;
a first encoder for compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a first compressed video signal;
a second encoder for compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a second compressed video signal;
a first buffer coupled to provide said first video signal to an input of said first encoder, said first buffer temporally delaying said first video signal before said first video signal is provided to said first encoder;
a second buffer coupled to provide said second video signal to an input of said second encoder, said second buffer temporally delaying said second video signal before said second video signal is provided to said second encoder;
a controller for controlling said variable compression rates of said first and second encoders based on said first and second complexity signals;
a multiplexer coupled to receive said first and second compressed video signals; and
a broadcast apparatus coupled to said multiplexer that receives said video signals from said multiplexer and broadcasts said video signals to a plurality of locations remote from said multiplexer, said broadcast apparatus comprising:
a transmitter coupled to receive said video signals from said multiplexer; and
a satellite coupled to receive said video signals from said transmitter.
23. An apparatus for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals, said apparatus comprising:
a first complexity detector coupled to receive a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said first complexity detector generating a first complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said first video signal;
a second complexity detector coupled to receive a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said second complexity detector generating a second complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said second video signal;
a first encoder for compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a first compressed video signal;
a second encoder for compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a second compressed video signal;
a first buffer coupled to provide said first video signal to an input of said first encoder, said first buffer temporally delaying said first video signal before said first video signal is provided to said first encoder;
a second buffer coupled to provide said second video signal to an input of said second encoder, said second buffer temporally delaying said second video signal before said second video signal is provided to said second encoder;
a controller for controlling said variable compression rates of said first and second encoders based on said first and second complexity signals, said controller transmitting a first compression factor to said first encoder and a second compression factor to said second encoder; and
a multiplexer coupled to receive said first and second compressed video signals.
24. A video broadcast system for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals and broadcasting said video signals, said system comprising:
a first complexity detector coupled to receive a first video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said first complexity detector generating a first complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said first video signal;
a second complexity detector coupled to receive a second video signal having a complexity which varies over time, said second complexity detector generating a second complexity signal which relates to said complexity of said second video signal;
a first encoder for compressing said first video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a first compressed video signal;
a second encoder for compressing said second video signal at a variable compression rate to generate a second compressed video signal;
a first buffer coupled to provide said first video signal to an input of said first encoder, said first buffer temporally delaying said first video signal before said first video signal is provided to said first encoder;
a second buffer coupled to provide said second video signal to an input of said second encoder, said second buffer temporally delaying said second video signal before said second video signal is provided to said second encoder;
a controller for controlling said variable compression rates of said first and second encoders based on said first and second complexity signals, said controller transmitting a first compression factor to said first encoder and a second compression factor to said second encoder;
a multiplexer coupled to receive said first and second compressed video signals; and
a broadcast apparatus coupled to said multiplexer that receives said video signals from said multiplexer and broadcasts said video signals to a plurality of locations remote from said multiplexer, said broadcast apparatus comprising:
a transmitter coupled to receive said video signals from said multiplexer; and
a satellite coupled to receive said video signals from said transmitter.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a statistical multiplexer for use in a video broadcast system.

Conventional video broadcast systems for transmitting video signals from a central location to a plurality of remote viewing locations may be of several different types, including cable television systems and satellite-based broadcast systems. Since the overall bandwidth of a video broadcast system is limited, there is a limit to the number of video channels that can be included in a broadcast transmission.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,216,503 to Paik, et al. discloses a statistical multiplexing apparatus which is used to selectively compress a plurality of video signals prior to being broadcast. In the Paik, et al. system, each video signal is provided to an encoder prior to being broadcast. Each encoder is connected to a respective buffer, which is in turn connected to a multiplexer. Each encoder is connected to a controller, which generates coding level commands to control the degree to which the encoders compress the video signals.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is directed to an apparatus for statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals. The apparatus includes first and second complexity detectors which generate first and second complexity signals which relate to the complexity of first and second video signals, respectively, and first and second encoders for compressing the first and second video signals at variable compression rates to generate first and second compressed video signals. The apparatus also includes a controller for controlling the variable compression rates of the encoders based on the complexity signal signals and a multiplexer coupled to receive the compressed video signals.

The apparatus may be provided in a broadcasting system, such as a satellite broadcasting system. The broadcast system may include a transmitter coupled to receive the video signals from the multiplexer, a satellite coupled to receive the video signals from the transmitter, a receiver for receiving video signals from the satellite, and one or more decoders connected to receive video signals from the receiver.

The statistical multiplexing apparatus may also include a third encoder for compressing the first video signal to generate a third compressed video signal and a fourth encoder for compressing the second video signal to generate a fourth compressed video signal. The third encoder is connected to transmit the third compressed video signal to the first complexity detector, and the fourth encoder is connected to transmit the fourth compressed video signal to the second complexity detector.

The controller of the statistical multiplexing apparatus may include means for generating a summing signal representing the sum of the complexities of the first and second video signals, means for generating a compression factor for one of the first and second video signals based upon the summing signal and the complexity signal for the one video signal, and means for causing one of the first and second encoders to compress the one video signal based on the compression factor.

The invention is also directed to a method of statistically multiplexing a plurality of video signals. The method includes the steps of generating first and second complexity signals representing the complexity of first and second video signals, respectively, generating first and second compression factors based on the first and second complexity signals, respectively, and compressing the first and second video signals at variable compression rates based upon the first and second compression factors.

The step of generating the first compression factor may include the steps of generating a summing signal representing the sum of the complexities of the first and second video signals and generating the first compression factor based upon the summing signal and the third complexity signal. The method may also include the steps of multiplexing the first and second compressed video signals and broadcasting the multiplexed video signals to a plurality of remote locations.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of the preferred embodiment, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a preferred embodiment of a video broadcast system in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a controller used in the video broadcast system;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a real-time encoder used in the video broadcast system;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the video generator shown in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 5 is a flowchart which illustrates the operation of the video broadcast system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A preferred embodiment of a video broadcast system 10 in accordance with the invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. Referring to FIG. 1, the system 10 includes a video generator 12 connected to transmit a multiplexed video data stream to a conventional transmitter 14 via a data link 16. The transmitter 14 transmits the video data stream to a satellite 18, and video data is broadcast by the satellite 18 to a plurality of conventional receivers 20, one of which is shown in FIG. 1. Each receiver 20 may correspond to a house or a multiple dwelling unit, such as an apartment building. Where the receiver 20 is used for a multiple dwelling unit, the receiver 20 is connected to a plurality of decoders 22, each of which corresponds to a separate dwelling unit within the multiple dwelling unit.

FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram of the video generator 12 shown schematically in FIG. 1. Referring to FIG. 4, the video generator 12 includes three video sources 30, such as live video sources. Although only three video sources are shown, it should be understood that any number of video sources 30 could be used.

Each of the video sources 30 could comprise, for example, a conventional memory or buffer for temporarily storing a video signal corresponding to, for example, a sporting event or movie. The video signals generated by the sources 30, which may be video signals that have not yet been compressed, are provided to three delay buffers 32 via three lines 34, and then to three real-time encoders (RTE) 36 via three lines 38.

Each RTE 36 compresses its associated video signal at a variable rate, depending upon a compression factor generated by a controller 40 and transmitted to the RTE 36 via a line 42. After being compressed, the video signals are transmitted to a conventional multiplexer 44 via a plurality of lines 46. The multiplexer 44 may be connected to a conventional video memory 48 for temporary storage prior to transmission of the multiplexed video signals to the satellite 18 by the transmitter 14 (FIG. 1).

Each RTE 36 can be any type of conventional real-time encoder. FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of an RTE 36 which may be used to compress a video signal in accordance with a standard MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group) compression protocol. Referring to FIG. 3, the RTE 36 includes a conventional frame processor 58 that separates the video signal provided on the line 38 into video frames (e.g. 24 video frames per second). A discrete-cosine transform (DCT) circuit 60 converts the video signal from the frame processor 58 into a plurality of transform coefficients, each transform coefficient being represented by a plurality of data bits.

The video signal is then provided to a conventional quantizer 64 which compresses the video signal by reducing a number of data bits from the transform coefficients based upon the magnitude of a quantizing factor, referred to generally as a compression factor, provided to the quantizer 64 via the line 42 from the controller 40. The video signal is then encoded by an encoder 68 in a conventional manner, and if necessary or desired, the video signal may be encrypted by an encrypter 70. The video signal is then converted into data packets suitable for broadcast transmission by a packetizer 72. The particular design of the RTEs 36 is not considered important to the invention, and alternative designs could be used. For example, the encoder disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,216,503 to Paik, et al., the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, could be used.

Referring to FIG. 4, the video signals from the sources 30 are provided to three RTEs 76, which may have the design described above in connection with FIG. 3. Each RTE 76 compresses its respective video signal in accordance with a predetermined, constant compression factor, which compression factor may be the same for all the RTEs 76.

After each video signal is compressed by its respective RTE 76, each compressed signal is provided to a respective complexity detector 78, which generates a complexity signal representative of the complexity of the video signal. The complexity detectors 78 could be any type of detectors. For example, each complexity detector 78 could be a bit counter which counts the number of data bits which represent each successive video frame of the video signal (more complex video frames having more data bits in the compressed video signal and less complex frames having fewer data bits). Such a complexity signal may correspond to the bit rate (e.g. bits/second) of the video signals. The complexity signals for each successive video frame are transmitted from the complexity detectors 78 to the controller 40 via three lines 80. The amount of delay caused by the delay buffers 32 corresponds to the amount of time which elapses between the transmission of the video signals to the RTEs 76 and the transmission of the compression factors to the RTEs 36 via the lines 42.

The processing of the audio signals which typically accompany the video signals in the video broadcast system 10 is not considered germane to the invention. Such audio signals would be encoded, if necessary, and then transmitted to the multiplexer 44 for multiplexing together with the video signals.

Referring to FIG. 2, the controller 40 may take the form of a conventional computer system having a microprocessor (MP) 82, a random-access memory (RAM) 84, a program memory such as a read-only memory (ROM) 86, and an input/output (I/O) circuit 88, all of which are interconnected via an address/data bus 90. The overall operation of the controller 40 is controlled by a computer program stored in the program memory 86 and executed by the microprocessor 82.

FIG. 5 is flowchart of a computer program which controls the operation of the controller 40. Referring to FIG. 5, at step 100, the sum of the complexity factors for the live video signals, CSUM, for the current video frame is determined by adding together the complexity signals generated by the complexity detectors 78.

Steps 102-106 are performed to determine the compression factors that are transmitted to the RTEs 36 via the lines 42 to control the degree to which the live video signals are compressed by the RTEs 36. At step 102, the bandwidth available for one of the live video signals is determined in accordance with the following equation:

BWI =CI /CSUM ×BWLIVE,

where BWI is the bandwidth available for the "Ith" of N video signals, where CI is the complexity factor for the Ith video signal, where CSUM is the sum of all the complexity factors determined at step 100, and where BWLIVE is the bandwidth available for all of the live video signals.

At step 104, the bandwidth BWI for the current video signal determined in step 102 is converted to a corresponding compression factor, in the form of a quantizing factor, which is then transmitted to the corresponding RTE 36 to specify the rate of compression of the video signal by that RTE 36. The conversion may be accomplished, for example, by a memory lookup table which specifies a plurality of bandwidth ranges and a particular quantizing factor for each range.

At step 106, if there is another live video signal for the current video frame, the program branches back to step 102 so that steps 102-104 are repeated for the next live video signal. Thus, where there are ten live video signals, steps 102-106 will be repeated ten times, once for each signal. If there are no more live video signals for the current video frame, the program branches back to step 100, so that the routine is repeated for the next video frame.

From the above description, it should be understood that each of the live video signals is examined for complexity on a frame-by-frame basis, and the bandwidth available for the live video signals is dynamically allocated, on a frame-by-frame basis, depending upon the complexity of each live video signal. Consequently, live video signals having more complex frames are allocated more bandwidth than signals having less complex video frames to ensure that the overall image resolution for the live video signals is maximized for the limited overall bandwidth available for the system 10.

Modifications of the above routine could be utilized. For example, the bandwidth for each signal determined at step 102 could be compared with upper and lower bandwidth limits. Any bandwidth value that exceeded one of the limits could be set equal to that limit. Any bandwidth excess or deficiency due to setting the bandwidth values to such limits could be allocated to the remaining live video signals whose bandwidth values fell within the upper and lower bandwidth limits.

Other modifications and alternative embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art in view of the foregoing description. This description is to be construed as illustrative only, and is for the purpose of teaching those skilled in the art the best mode of carrying out the invention. The details of the structure and method may be varied substantially without departing from the spirit of the invention, and the exclusive use of all modifications which come within the scope of the appended claims is reserved.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification375/240.03, 375/E07.158, 375/E07.139, 375/E07.211, 375/E07.217, 348/385.1, 375/E07.134, 375/E07.268, 375/E07.181, 375/E07.162, 348/699, 375/E07.173
International ClassificationH04N21/2365, H04N21/434, H04N7/50
Cooperative ClassificationH04N19/0006, H04N19/00266, H04N19/00236, H04N19/00187, H04N19/0009, H04N19/00157, H04N19/00781, H04N21/4347, H04N21/2365, H04N21/23655
European ClassificationH04N21/2365S, H04N21/2365, H04N21/434V, H04N7/50E5F, H04N7/26A4E, H04N7/26A6E4G, H04N7/26A8P, H04N7/26A6C2, H04N7/26A6W, H04N7/26A4Q, H04N7/50
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